Design proposal involving native plants for the historical site of Early Christian Amphipolis, Greece

M. Papafotiou, G. Marco Martínez, A Petrocheilou, E. Kanellou
The archaeological site of Early Christian Amphipolis is located in northern Greece and dates back to 4th-6th century BCE (BC). The site is characterized by four Basilicas and the walls surrounding the city. Excavations also revealed a temple, a cistern and ruins of houses. The rest of the enclosed site is still covered, leaving the revealed part in a lower level, a fact that impedes the direct visual contact to the parts of interest, and only by close approach is it possible for the visitor to realize their existence. Additionally, the lack of a clear network of paths limits visitor access and lack of visitor rest areas restricts the functionality of the site. Another matter that should be addressed is the total lack of any ornamental plants, as part of a landscape design that would ameliorate the landscape. The Athens Charter, for the restoration of Historic Monuments (1931), in article III states that special attention should be given to the use of ornamental plants in archaeological sites, which would enhance and preserve the character of the site. Native plant species are considered suitable for such purpose as they are adapted to the local landscape and are connected to the local history. It is also well known the intense impact of the rich native Greek flora on the evolution of cultures that developed in Greece. This project aims to improve the functionality of the site, by proposing a network of pavements to guide the visitors and enhance the archaeological landscape by the establishment of native plants that reflect on the Greek culture and landscape. Taking into consideration the fact that more excavations are to be held the following years, the present project avoids the total alignment of the ground in the level of the existing findings. Therefore it is proposed a clear configuration of paths that is currently absent, which will guide the visitor through all the main points of interest. Two viewpoints are also proposed in strategically chosen spots, which also serve as visitor rest areas. Paths and viewpoints are enhanced with the addition of native plants. The chosen species are shrubby, xerophytes, considered suitable due to their lack of aggressiveness towards the monument, low average height so that they don't conceal the monument, low maintenance and aesthetic and historic value.
Papafotiou, M., Marco Martínez, G., Petrocheilou, A and Kanellou, E. (2017). Design proposal involving native plants for the historical site of Early Christian Amphipolis, Greece. Acta Hortic. 1189, 97-102
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1189.20
archaeological site, shrubby Mediterranean plants, xerophytes, Athens Charter, paths network

Acta Horticulturae